Updated 05:15 PM EDT, Mon, Oct 19, 2020

English Teacher in Peru Educates Students & Colleagues on Gender Equity

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English teacher Bluidson Cardenas Ledesma is changing education in Peru for the better by raising gender awareness in the country.

Women experience numerous inequalities and barriers in Peru, including a huge gender pay gap, sexism in the media, early marriage and pregnancy, and a belief that females are only good for caring after children and doing housework, the Huffington Post reported. The most alarming among the adversities women go through each day is domestic and gender-based violence.

"An average of three women are killed by their partner every day," Cardenas Ledesma said, as quoted in Huffington Post's report. "Thousands of women are raped, thousands are harassed. There is generally a large percentage of violence against women in many ways."

As a child, Cardenas Ledesma saw how his father abused his mother, the news outlet noted. She, a trained nurse, was not allowed to work outside their home despite the pressing demand for money. This experience led Cardenas Ledesma to take action and change gender attitudes in Peru.

Cardenas Ledesma studied new teaching methodologies through the Teaching Excellence and Achievement (TEA) Program in the United States, the Huffington Post wrote. Armed with knowledge, the educator developed activities to incorporate gender equity concepts into his classroom.

"It's like when someone opens your eyes and your mind," he shared, as quoted by the news outlet. "When I was [in the US], I finally understood clearly what I have to do, and that's why I have to continue my work to teach students and parents about gender."

He widened gender equity concepts across Peru by teaching domestic violence prevention, as well as showing women and men in various jobs carrying out non-traditional roles in the household. For a course called "Cross-curricular Issues in Education," Cardenas Ledesma "trains education professionals [in] various strategies such as 'Parent School,'" which helps parents and students examine their own assumptions about gender, the Huffington Post added.

Cardenas Ledesma serves as a trainer in a nationwide Ministry of Education initiative held at 2,000 public schools, the Huffington Post wrote. This initiative develops gender equity and girls' education, as well as assisting educators in advancing students' personal and educational development, community engagement, and socio-emotional needs.

Cardenas Ledesma also works with PROHUPE, or Profesores Humanistas del Peru, a nonprofit organization that guides educators on gender equity issues and grants scholarships to adolescent pregnant women, giving them a chance to finish their studies, the news outlet noted.

In November, Peru this Week reported that the country fell 44 positions in the Global Gender Gap Report compared to last year's 45th ranking. The reduced number of Peruvian women in ministerial positions (from 44 percent down to 22 percent) largely affected Peru's ranking.

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